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Obamacare’s Dirty Tricks

By Peter Ferrara on 1.5.11 @ 6:08AM

Most commentators have focused on the revelation just before Christmas that Obamacare’s end of life death panel consultations rejected by Congress were resurrected by the Obama Administration by regulatory requirement. There is no truth to the rumor that President Obama has agreed, after his term of office ends, to head up a new organization called Democrats Against Democracy.

But while this regulatory authoritarianism is, indeed, yet another dirty trick of Obamacare, it is small potatoes compared to the real dirty tricks of Obamacare. A dirty trick is defined here as burying in vague language in the abusive, several thousand page Obamacare legislation socially repulsive policies that the public overwhelmingly opposed and that Congress denied it was adopting. Like the end of life death panel consultations.

Phasing Out Private Insurance

But as indicated above, the emerging abuses of Obamacare are much graver than that. Also just before Christmas, on December 21, HHS Commissar Kathleen Sebelius claimed authority buried deep within the Obamacare abomination to impose federal price controls on health insurance companies, which members of Congress again denied they were adopting when they passed Obamacare. In fact, she issued a 136 page "regulation" providing precisely for such federal rate regulation.

Most states have long regulated health insurance premiums. The state regulators know from long experience that in this regulation they have to make sure that the insurance company has the money to pay the promised benefits. If the regulators don’t allow sufficient premiums to pay benefits, in the states they know that it is the sickest people covered by the insurance company who lose out. Because then the insurance company goes out of business and the sick people it was covering don’t have the money to pay their medical bills.

State insurance regulation is consequently simply a matter of mathematics. The regulators analyze the cost data, and the actuarial probabilities, and they set premiums based on that data sufficient to allow the insurance company only a modest, reasonable, market rate of return on its operations. As a result, the hard numbers unquestionably show that health insurance companies only make modest if not below average profits at best. That is why in many states there are so few health insurance companies left, and so many of those that remain are actually non-profits.

The resulting bottom line is that health insurance company profits are not a significant factor in overall health costs. And those politicians who rant and rave about them, calculating that they can take political advantage of the clueless and gullible, are shameless demagogues who dishonor our democracy by their participation in it.

Under the new federal power that Sebelius has seized, the supposed smarter, wiser bureaucrats in Washington will review the state regulation, and Washington will decide if the state approved rate increases are "reasonable." If the Washington wise guys decide the increases are not, they will deem the state regulation not "effective," and substitute Washington’s rate regulation.

Sebelius has already decreed, not based on a review of the actual data, that increases over 10% are probably not reasonable, even though many increases across the country are coming in over 20%, based on the analysis described above, as predicted. Indeed, the Red Queen has intimated that even lesser premium increases may be deemed too much.

But there is socialist method behind the madness. Obamacare raises health insurance costs by mandating that health insurers provide expensive new benefits. That is why it was so obvious that Obamacare will raise health insurance costs. But now come the federal regulators who plan to dictate to the insurers that they cannot reflect those costs in higher premiums.

It will work just like the Democrats’ "affordable housing" policies worked in causing the financial crisis. First the regulators forced banks to lend mortgage money to so many who were not financially qualified under traditional lending standards. Bill Clinton bragged in 1995 that through this scheme he had found a way of spreading housing prosperity to so many "without costing the taxpayers a dime."

But now we know how all that turned out. When so many proved unable or unwilling to pay the mortgages, as the displaced traditional lending standards suggested they might, the mortgage backed securities that had been spread so widely throughout the financial system began their downward spiral that froze credit markets, and the whole financial system began to unravel, costing taxpayers a fortune in bailouts and lost jobs.

Left-wing sophisticates know from experience that their grassroots troops can’t follow that logic. Your average grassroots Democrat supporter can’t understand that if the law forces health insurance costs up with required new benefits, but the insurance company can’t raise premiums to cover those higher costs, the company goes out of business.

But this is exactly what the Reds who now run today’s modern Democrat party want. They are planning precisely to use this new federal rate regulation power to drive private insurers out of business, so the only option left will be the outright socialized medicine public option that first the public and then the Congress rejected in the health care "debate" last year. Hence the foundation for the new organization, Democrats Against Democracy.

This plot against the people is already underway in the more Left states that the Democrats still control. On December 22, the Wall Street Journal editorialized regarding the ongoing "political thuggery" in Connecticut regarding former state insurance commissioner Tom Sullivan. The Journal explained, "In September, following a thorough actuarial analysis, Mr. Sullivan approved some rate increases reaching 20% for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest insurer in the state by membership."

Even though the higher rates applied only to new customers, to cover the new costs of Obamacare, "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal made the approval a centerpiece of his Senate bid, while Mr. Sullivan was demonized by local labor unions." In a letter to Blumenthal explaining his resignation, Sullivan explained that he could not sensibly operate in an environment where "we are required by Congress to approve richer benefit packages, while simultaneously being called upon by you to reduce rates." To complete the travesty, his successor, under federal pressure from the same bureaucrats who have now seized new federal ratemaking power, overturned the increase, and Blumenthal rode his shameless demagoguery to election. Similar travesties are now playing out in Massachusetts as well.

But once the private insurers have been driven out, patients will have nowhere to turn but the friendly Obama national political machine. The leading lights in that operation, such as the recess-appointed, unconfirmed head of Medicare and Medicaid, "Dr. Doom" Donald Berwick, have already made the determination that more votes can be bought redirecting all the money that is now spent saving the sickest and most vulnerable to other causes.

Health Coverage, Not Health Care

President Obama barnstormed the nation promising health care for all, to achieve passage of Obamacare. But the legislation he delivered is already on course to decimate the ability of the health care system to deliver critical health care to the sickest and most vulnerable. Most Democrats and liberals have no idea what they have done. This assault on the most essential health care of the American people, achieved flying under false pretenses, should be recognized as a national scandal.

The assault begins with Medicare. I have previously reported that my analysis of last summer’s annual Medicare Trustees Report concluded that the President’s Obamacare policies involve cutting trillion in payments to doctors and hospitals for services and treatment to seniors under Medicare, over the first 20 years of full implementation of Obamacare.

Confirmation of this and more now comes from the recently released 2010 Financial Statement of the United States, from the U.S. Treasury Department. That report openly brags, repeatedly, about the Medicare cost savings resulting from Obamacare. The accompanying data reveals, in fact, that the total future Medicare cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare accumulate to trillion! The Obama Administration is apparently convinced that its supporters cannot understand that if the government does not pay the doctors and hospitals for medical care and treatment under Medicare, seniors are not going to get medical care and treatment under Medicare.

This is why Medicare’s Chief Actuary has already reported that ultimately under these Obamacare policies Medicare payment rates will be only half of what is paid by Medicaid, where the poor often can’t find access to essential care. The Chief Actuary also reports that even before these cuts already two-thirds of hospitals were losing money on Medicare patients. Cuts of this magnitude will consequently wreak havoc and create chaos in health care for the elderly. Health providers will either have to withdraw from serving Medicare patients, or eventually go into bankruptcy.

Too many conservatives have been reticent to criticize Obamacare for these draconian cuts, out of recognition that Medicare is hopelessly bankrupt over the long run, and will have to be sharply cut in any event. But this view is far too simple minded, for refusing to pay the doctors and hospitals for the health care they provide under Medicare is no way to reform the program.

That would not only suddenly leave seniors without the health care they have been promised, and have come to rely on as a result. It would suddenly leave doctors, clinics, specialists, and hospitals with uneconomic practices for seniors that they entered in good faith on the promise of payment from the government. This is like trying to achieve budget savings in national defense by not paying the manufacturers of the Air Force’s planes, the Navy’s ships, the Army’s tanks and artillery, and the bullets, bombs and guns. How long do you think our national defense would last under that policy? The same goes for health care for America’s seniors.

Think of it this way. You wouldn’t try to balance your own family budget by just refusing to pay your bills, particularly for goods and services you planned to continue to consume. You would recognize that is really just impractical stealing. Yet that is the Obamacare policy for Medicare. Except that what they are really thinking was explained above. They have decided, as every government running socialized medicine programs has, that more votes can be bought with all the money spent on saving the sickest and most vulnerable by spending it elsewhere. That is the dirty little scandal of Obamacare.

Conservatives should assail this socialist assault on the most important of all medical care for the American people, an essential and fundamental component of their rapidly receding highest standard of living in the world, and advance more fundamental, more carefully structured Medicare reforms, that can achieve far more in savings over the long run.

One example of that is the Medicare reforms in the Ryan Roadmap. Seniors would receive vouchers they could use to buy their choice of coverage in the private sector, including Health Savings Accounts. The growth of the voucher amounts would be restrained over time, so seniors would have to pay more out of pocket for such coverage over time than they would otherwise. But at least they would be able to get the essential health care they want and need. The lowest income seniors would be protected by supplemental payments. The Ryan Roadmap has been scored as achieving full solvency for Medicare, and permanently balancing the federal budget over the long run.

But the most long run budget savings by far would be achieved by allowing younger workers to save and invest their Medicare payroll taxes in personal accounts. In retirement, those accounts would finance their health insurance vouchers, and would be able to finance far more because of the accumulation of all the market returns over the years. This would shift huge amounts of spending out of the federal budget altogether, and to the private sector. The general revenues currently used to finance so much of Medicare would be used for means tested supplements for lower income seniors to ensure that they could afford essential coverage and care. But these general revenues devoted to Medicare would be limited to grow no faster than the rate of growth of GDP, providing further huge savings over the long run.

These more basic, more fundamental reforms would be far more politically salable that than the wholesale slaughter of health care for seniors that is going to result from the current Obamacare policies. Seniors showed in the last election that they understand this. Why not conservative political strategists?

Already we see on our current course the beginnings of the disappearance not only of private health insurance, but also of private, independent medical practices as well. Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute reports that while in 2005 at least two thirds of doctors practices were private, independent operations, less than half are today, and that is expected to fall below 40% by the end of this year.

Instead they are fleeing to salaried positions at large hospitals, where they are safe from Obamacare’s draconian cuts in their compensation, and they can sharply reduce the patient load they take on when their personal economic survival is at stake. This trend is strongly supported by President Obama’s top health care aide Nancy-Ann DeParle, who openly cheerleads the consolidation of America’s health care system into modern HMOs, called now Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Such a system will be far more able to enforce the health care rationing and denial policies of the Obama political machine.

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The Man with the Iron Hand
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Henry de Tonti stands at the high end of Tonti Creek,

at Starved Rock State Park, Illinois. I took the creek photo,
and the Tonti portrait was painted by Ben Brantly in 1995.

Starved Rock park is rich with the footprints of Henri de Tonti. Tonti Canyon is narrow with two 80 foot waterfalls. There is a back canyon with 3 more waterfalls that only flow with snow melt or rain run off. It’s a beautiful place. Tonti canyon connects to LaSalle Canyon, which boasts the largest water flow in it’s series of cascades and waterfalls.

When I die, my ashes will be scattered along the high bluff trail atop LaSalle and Tonti canyons. I am attaching some bits of historical information about Henri de Tonti, the Man with the Iron Hand.


Henri de Tonty (also spelled Tonti) born 1650, Gaeta, Italy, died September 1704, Fort Louis, Louisiana (now in Alabama).

Among the greatest of the dauntless men who made possible the exploration and settlement of the Mississippi Basin, there is one forgotten man. He was a simple sturdy soldier, blunt and laconic in his speech or his reports, over-shadowed by his brilliant chief — La Salle — whose trusted lieutenant, loyal friend and devoted companion he was. The Forest Preserve District proposes to create a lake and name it for Henry de Tonty, Sieur and Chevalier, Governor of Fort St. Louis in the Province of the Illinois — The Man with the Iron Hand.

Lorenzo Tonty, his father, was a banker in Naples, Italy. After a bloody revolt in 1647, he escaped to Paris where Cardinal Mazarin, also an Italian, had succeeded Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister for Louis XIV. It was Lorenzo Tonty who suggested to Mazarin a system of life insurance which would replenish the royal treasury, and the name
"tontine" for such a policy is in your dictionary.

Henry, or Henri Tonti, was born in 1650. In 1668-69, Henri served in the French army as a cadet. During the following four years he was a midshipman at Marseilles and Toulon, participating in seven campaigns at sea, four in warships and three in galleys. Sent to Sicily, he was made captain-lieutenant to the maitre de camp at Messina.

At Libisso, during a Spanish attack, his right hand was shot away by a grenade and he was taken prisoner. Conducted to Metasse, he was detained there six months, then exchanged for the governor’s son. In place of his missing left hand, he wore an iron hook, covered by a glove. His iron hand was feared by the Indians as "big medicine". In 1678 he was engaged as LaSalle’s lieutenant and they sailed for Quebec .

LaSalle, after talking with Joliet who had explored part of the Mississippi with Father Marquette, determined to find out if it was the long-sought route to China and India. In 1679, they started out in canoes, accompanied by three Recollects (Franciscans) — Fathers Ribourdi, Membre and Hennepin — who as LaSalle extended dominions of the king of France, would "bring the inhabitants to a knowledge of the Christian religion".

From the east shore of Lake Michigan they went up the St. Joseph River, over into the Kankakee and, in 1680, arrived at Peoria where they built Fort Crevecoeur. Father Hennepin was sent to explore the upper Mississippi. LaSalle went back to Montreal by way of the Chicago Portage, and Tonty, after surveying the site for Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock, planned to meet him at Mackinac.

After Tonty left, Fort Crevecoeur was destroyed, Father Rihourdi was killed by a band of Kickapoos, and Tonty narrowly escaped death from an Iroquois war party. Alarmed by the prospect of the French supplying arms and ammunition to the Illinois, the Iroquois decided to make war. They struck on September 10, 1680. At first Tonty tried to buy them off with necklaces, but received only a glancing blow from a knife for his pains. Bravely persevering and with the assistance of an Onondaga chief named Agonstot, he gave them to understand that the Illinois were under the protection of the king of France and persuaded them to call off their attack. Nevertheless, the Iroquois insisted that Tonty and his men immediately leave the Illinois country.

Hoping to reach Michilimackinac before winter set in, Tonty and his party arrived early in October at the site of the present city of Chicago, where they rediscovered the portage taken by Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette seven years before. From here they headed for Baie des Puants (Green Bay). While proceeding by canoe on Lac des Illinois (Lake Michigan), they were wrecked on November 1, 1680. During the next two weeks they lived on wild garlic, grubbed up from under the snow. They ate decayed pumpkins in an abandoned Potawatomi village. They ate the thongs which fastened the lodge poles. They ate the skins and hoofs of a deer killed by wolves, and they chewed a buffalo-hide shield "which gave them bellyaches".

Ultimately they arrived at a Potawatomi settlement where Tonty remained for the winter while his chaplain went on to the Jesuit mission of St Francis Xavier.

In 1682, LaSalle and Tonty reached the mouth of the Mississippi. LaSalle then returned to France to organize the expedition which finally landed at Matagorda Bay, Texas. After his ship was wrecked and most of the party had died or been killed, he was assassinated by his own men on a desperate overland trip to reach Tonty. Meanwhile, Tonty had built Fort St. Louis, rebuilt Fort Crevecoeur, and defeated the terrible Iroquois with a confederation of the Illinois and several other tribes.

In 1686 and 1689, with Father Membre, he made fruitless trips down the Mississippi to find his boss. In 1700 he was replaced as governor of Fort St. Louis where he had maintained the supremacy of the French for 20 years and grimly endured neglect and injustice from his king. He was ordered to Biloxi, where de’Iberville had established a settlement. In 1704, at a new colony on the Mobile River, a supply vessel from Havana brought yellow fever to Fort Biloxi. Tonti nursed the sick and buried the dead. In September, Tonti also died of yellow fever at Fort Louis-de-la-Louisiane.

According to local lore, de Tonti’s “remains were laid to everlasting rest in an unknown grave near Mobile River, and not far from the monument erected in 1902 to commemorate the site of old Mobile.”


some quotes from the "Relation of Henri de Tonty Concerning the Explorations of La Salle from 1678 to 1683"

“…at the Coroa village, Indian corn comes to maturity in forty days. July, 1862. Fortunately I found at the lakeside an Outagamie, who sold me his canoe. Finding no one at the river of the Miamis, I made my way to Michilimakinak (previously spelled "Missilimakinak), which I reached on the 22nd of July. M. de La Salle, recovering from his illness, which had lasted forty days, sent me orders to await him, and, being arrived at Michili- makinak, decided to return to "

"France in order to give an account at Court of his Tonty returns discovery. He sent me back to build a fort at the portage of the Illinois River, for to the Illinois the purpose of protecting the village of the Shawanoes, whom he had drawn to him to build a fort and had joined with the Miamis. Being arrived, I found that the Shawanoes had gone hunting and that the Miamis were preparing for flight, as they had been told that the Iroquois were coming to devour them. I found that all our people were dispersed; and, as I had few men, I resolved to pass the winter on the Illinois River, hoping to be able to collect my men in the spring. Meanwhile, as M. de La Salle found himself unwell he resolved not to return to France, but to send his dispatches by the Reverend Father Zenoble."

"On the 30th of December he joined me; and during the winter we built upon an impregnable rock Fort St. Louis, to which M. de La Salle induced the Shawanoes Fort St. to come. The Miamis united themselves with him, and later the Illinois, to whom, Louis in the month of March, 1683, I made a journey of more than a hundred leagues across the prairies. After I had made them great presents in behalf of M. de La Salle, whom they call their Father, they gave me their word that they would join us."

"I will not weary you, Sir, with all the difficulties we encountered in collecting La Salle’s these tribes, whose minds were preoccupied with the evil reports which the French enemies of M. de La Salle had spread among them. Then, after M. de La Salle enemies had placed his fort in a state of defense, he resolved to return to France. Leaving me in command, he set out in the month of August, 1683, taking with him two Shawanoes."

"Fourteen leagues from the fort, he met the Chevalier de Baugy, who brought him a letter from M. de La Barre, Governor General of Canada, ordering him to return to give an account of his discovery. This Chevalier de Baugy reached the
Fort with letters from M. de La Salle, who advised me to receive him well and to live with."


Henry de Tonty – 1699
by Rose Jo Boylan, Metro East Journal, July 6, 1966 (4th in a Series)

If you know one date in the history of Metro-East, it is most likely to be 1699.

That was the year when three priests from the Seminary of the Foreign Missions of Quebec, accompanied by lay employees, established themselves at a permanent settlement in the Cahokia-Tamaroa village. They acted under the guidance and protection of Henry de Tonty, merchant prince of the wilderness, who literally ruled the Illinois country "with an it-on hand." (He was a war veteran amputee.)

Bishop J. B. St. Vallier of Quebec, under date of July 14, 1698, assigned the Quebec Seminary priests to establish missions along the Mississippi River, from the Illinois to the Arkansas. He expressly directed them to set up residence among the Tamaroas, saying, “The location . . . is . . . the Key and necessary passageway to the nation’s beyond.”

The three priests so detailed were Father Francois Jolliet de Montigny, Father Antoine Davion, and Father Jean Francois Buisson de St. Cosme.

Passing through Mackinac, they met Tonty, who decided that he would help start the good work and handle his business on the lower river at the same time. Tonty knew the Cahokia-Tamaroa homeland from earlier trips, beginning as aide to the late great Robert Cavelier de La Salle.

They took the usual route: Lake Michigan, the Chicago portage, the Illinois river. They visited Illinois villages along the river and enjoyed civilized talk with the Jesuit fathers working among them. One tribe had a woman chief.

The Quebec party included a lay brother and 11 employees, two of them blacksmiths, in three canoes. Tonty had his own canoe and crew. Besides these official parties, five young men joined for the ride.

They entered the Mississippi on Dec. 6, 1698. That evening they camped with the Cahokias. The tribe was then living midway between Alton and East St. Louis, to use modern terms. This would place them not too far from the Cahokia mounds.

The Cahokias were mourning a recent defeat by the Shawnees and Chickasaws. When they saw their old friend Tonty, they began to weep. The visitors consoled them with presents. At noon next day the travelers reached the riverside camp of the Tamaroas on an island near the mouth of Cahokia Creek. The tribe also had another village on an upland prairie.

The Tamaroa chief came to the waterfront to welcome them. Next day, escorted by Tonty, the missionaries visited the chief in his cabin. The women and youths were so curious that they broke away a part of the cabin wall to see the black gowns.

The site was a good one. The Cahokias and Tamaroas could be combined into a flourishing mission. Perhaps their friends to the South, the Metchigamies, would also be included.

The party continued onward to the mouth of the Arkansas. Tonty was their mainstay all the way, Wherever they went he eased the missionaries’ way with the tribes who knew and trusted him.

"Now, you pray and listen to the blackrobes." He told them. Tonty of the Iron Hand was a shrewd businessman, a brave soldier and a devout Christian, all in one.

All along the way they ate off the land-shooting so many bears, deer and turkeys that they did not attempt to fire at the herds of "oxen" (buffalo). On the return up river, Father St. Cosme stayed at the Cahokia-Tamaroa village. By mid-May his rectory was finished.

The Cahokias had moved to the combined village which now numbered two thousand persons in 300 cabins. In the third week of May, the first chapel was completed. A cross was raised to the hymn, "Vexilla Regis Prodeun"- "The banners of the king advance."

Henry de Tonty wrote to Bishop St. Vallier: "As for the Illinois missions, may God help many of the decisions (concerning their future) be to His honor and glory forever."


Henri de Tonti, soldier, was associated with René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, qv in the fur trade and in exploration of the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi Valley. He is linked to Texas history through his search for La Salle’s Gulf Coast colony.

Tonti wrote an account of his 1689 expedition, which entered eastern Texas through the Caddoan tribes, recounting both
the journey’s hardships and his observations that bespoke great promise for the region.

Tonti was born in 1649 or 1650, probably in Gaeta, Italy, the son of Lorenzo de Tonti and Isabelle di Lietto. Lorenzo de Tonti, a former governor of Gaeta and a financier of considerable note, invented a form of life insurance known as the tontine. Because of his involvement in an unsuccessful revolt against the Spanish viceroy in Naples, Lorenzo sought asylum in France.

The family arrived in Paris about 1650-either shortly after or just prior to Henri’s birth. Henri de Tonti entered the French army in 1668 as a cadet and later served in the French Navy. After losing his right hand in a grenade explosion at Labisso during the Sicilian wars, he substituted a metal hook, over which he customarily wore a glove, and thus became known as "Iron Hand." In July 1678 Tonti went with La Salle to Canada. La Salle, quickly recognizing that "his energy and address make him equal to anything," soon after his arrival was planning to send him to establish a fort near Niagara Falls.

In March 1680 La Salle left Tonti to hold Fort Crèvecoeur (Illinois), while he himself returned to Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario. In the spring of 1682 Tonti accompanied La Salle on his descent of the Mississippi River and explored one of the branches at its mouth. His letters and memoirs of this and other expeditions comprise a body of valuable source material on La Salle and Mississippi Valley exploration.

When La Salle sailed for France in 1683 to advance his plan for planting a colony on the lower Mississippi, Tonti was left in command of Fort Saint-Louis on the Illinois River. Early in 1686, after learning that La Salle had sailed from France to seek the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico, he voyaged down the river hoping to join him and support his undertaking. Failing to find La Salle, he searched the Gulf Coast twenty to thirty leagues in either direction, then returned to the mouth of the Arkansas River, where he left several men to establish a trading post.

It was of this undertaking that Alonso De Leónqv heard through an Indian messenger following his 1689 Texas entrada and his discovery of the ruins of La Salle’s fort on Garcitas Creek in the area of present-day Victoria County. During most of 1687 Tonti was involved in wars with the Iroquois and the English. In the spring of 1688 he returned to Fort Saint-Louis on the Illinois to find five members of La Salle’s company-including La Salle’s brother, Abbé Jean Cavelierqv-who had traveled from the Texas settlement.

Abbé Cavelier, wishing to obtain a loan from his brother’s account to pay for passage to France, concealed from Tonti the fact that La Salle already was dead. Had he revealed the truth, Tonti might have had time to rescue the twenty-five men, women, and children La Salle had left at Fort St. Louisqv of Texas. When he learned the truth ten months later, he had no way of knowing that it was too late to save those in the meager settlement on the Gulf. First sending Jean Couture among the East Texas Indians to seek news of any survivors, Tonti himself started for the Caddoan tribes in October 1689.

Traveling up the Red River by canoe, he reached the Kadohadacho villages near the northeastern corner of the present state of Texas in March 1690. It was of this journey that Alonso De Leon heard later that year while among the Hasinai, and of which Domingo Terán de los Ríosqv was told while encamped on the Colorado River in July 1691.

From the Kadohadacho Tonti heard that seven Frenchmen remained among the Nabedache of the Hasinai confederacy, eighty leagues away. Deserted by most of his companions, he resumed his journey in April 1690. When he approached the Nabedache village, he learned of the Spanish expedition that was soon to establish San Francisco de los Tejas Mission among the Nabedache of the Hasinai confederacy. The Indians refused him guides to look for La Salle’s remnants or to take him to Fort St. Louis, which he reckoned to be eighty leagues distant.

With no course left open but to withdraw, Tonti returned eastward through flooded country, constantly facing starvation and losing the notes he had made during the journey. Despite such hardships Tonti saw great possibilities in the country he had visited for the harvest of peltry, silk production, lead mining, and a thriving commerce that would supply the Caribbean islands with lumber and agricultural products.

Early in 1700 Tonti journeyed down the Mississippi to make contact with Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, who the previous year had begun the Louisiana colony. Driven by the failure of his commercial enterprises in the north, Tonti eventually joined Iberville’s colony and in 1702 was chosen by Iberville as Indian agent with the initial assignment of making peace between the Choctaw and the Chickasaw.

Tonti continued to serve the colony under Iberville’s brother, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in reconciling Indian nations and leading punitive expeditions. In August 1704 Tonti contracted yellow fever. He died at Fort Louis de la Louisiane (Old Mobile, twenty-six miles up the Mobile River from the present city) on September 4, 1704.


Tonti or Tonty, Henri de [both: äNrE’ du tôNtE’] c. 1650–1704, French explorer in North America, b. Italy. Serving in the French army, he lost a hand in battle; his skillful use of the appliance with which the hand was replaced was later to lead Native Americans to believe him possessed of special powers.

In 1678, Tonti accompanied the explorer La Salle to Canada as his lieutenant and was dispatched to Niagara where, among hostile Native Americans, he constructed the Griffon, the first sailboat to ply the Great Lakes W of Ontario. Tonti preceded La Salle westward to Detroit and penetrated into the country of the Illinois, whom he won over to the French interest. In 1680, left by La Salle at Starved Rock to construct a fort, he was faced by desertion of his men and the hostility of the Native Americans and was forced to winter in Wisconsin.

Meeting La Salle at Mackinac the following year, he traveled with him down the Mississippi to its mouth; they proclaimed the entire Mississippi watershed the domain of France. Tonti returned alone to the Illinois River, where he was rejoined by La Salle, and together they completed (1682–83) Fort St. Louis at Starved Rock. When La Salle returned to France, Tonti was left in charge of the fort. La Salle did not return, for he failed in his attempt to find the mouth of the Mississippi by sea.

Having no word, Tonti in 1686 descended the river in a hopeless search for La Salle. The following year he took part with a band of Illinois in the raid by the marquis de Denonville against the Iroquois. Tonti remained at Fort St. Louis, developing the new empire, until 1700, when he joined Iberville’s colony at the mouth of the Mississippi. Pierre Margry included Tonti’s account in Mémoires et documents pour servir à l’histoire des origines francaises des pays d’outre-mer (6 vol., 1879–1888; tr. Relation of Henri de Tonty, 1898).

See J. C. Parish, The Man with the Iron Hand (1913); C. B. Reed, Masters of the
Wilderness (1914); E. R. Murphy, Henry de Tonty, Fur Trader of the Mississippi


The following is the sad account of Henri’s younger brother, Pierre Alphonse de Tonty

Pierre Alphonse de Tonty was born in 1659 to Laurent and Angelique (de Liette) de Tonty. He had an older brother, Henri, who was part of La Salle’s expedition to the Mississippi. Henri was known to the Native Americans as "the man with the iron hand" due to an artificial hand.

On February 17, 1689, Tonty married Marianne de Belestre, daughter of Picote de Belestre (not sure which one – we know of two: one born in 1677, and his son who was born after 1710).

Some time after 1689 and before 1701, Tonty married Marianne la Marque, daughter of Francois la Marque. This was Marianne’s third marriage. On May 3, 1669, Marianne’s first husband, J.B. Nolan, died. Her second husband was Antoine de Fresnel (Fruel?) de Pipadiere.

Tonty was the Captain of Cadillac’s party which founded Fort Ponchratrain du Detroit in 1701. He was a loyal, trusted officer.

In 1703, Tonty admitted to a plot with the Jesuits of Michilimackinac to establish a new post in St. Joseph on Lake Michigan. He was pardoned by Cadillac.

In 1704, Cadillac while was in Quebec, Tonty acted (unofficially) as Commandant. At thie time, Tonty was caught embezzling company goods, along with a company commissioner, for illegal fur trade. He was removed from Fort Ponchartrain, but was later pardoned by Cadillac and returned. Tonty continued to plot against his former friend with some Native Americans.

In July 1717, Tonty was named commandant of Fort Ponchartrain. Tonty was personally responsible for all expenses at the fort, including salaries for a missionary, surgeon, soldiers and interpreters, presents for Native Americans, and clothing. He was to use the profits from trade to pay these expenses. He was neither good with finances, nor business, however, and before long, he found himself with a debt he couldn’t pay off.

His solution was to farm out the trade business to two men: Francois la Marque (his father-in-law?) and Louis Gastineau. The men took on three partners of their own: Thierry, Nolan, and Gouin. The fee they paid Tonty covered fort expenses.

The new trade "bosses" weren’t much better than Tonty and while he was commandant, annual trade "fairs" which offered twenty or more stores in Cadillac’s day, never grew above two stores — and those were owned by the same person. The trade business declined enough that community and tribal leaders filed complaints to Quebec. Tonty was called to Quebec to answer the complaints in the winter of 1721-22. Sieur de Belestre maintained the fort in his absence.

Tonty’s mistakes didn’t end there. It seems that Cadillac had given certain rights to Francois La Marque, one of the men to whom Tonty sold the trading business. For unknown reasons, Tonty didn’t honor these rights, and thus La Marque filed a compplaint with officials at Quebec. In 1724, Tonty was called to Quebec to answer to these new charges.

In 1727, Tonty went to Qeubec to welcome the new Governor of New France, Marquis de Beauharnois. He also asked the new governor for help in improvements to Fort Ponchartrain. The governor was not pleased with Tonty. His attitude worsened when Hurons settled near the fort threatened to leave if Tonty wasn’t replaced. Tonty was relived of duty effective spring 1728. He died before that date (November 10, 1727).

———- Tonti Tales from the Indian wars —————–

In the Spring of 1680, the French under La Salle built Ft. Crevecoeur in central Illinois near a Peoria village located on Lake Peoria. Henri de Tonti was put in charge of the small garrison. Tonti was a highly capable French officer who was noted for having a iron-hand. Ft. Crevecoeur suffering from shortages and desertion was soon abandoned. LaSalle ordered Tonti to relocate on the rocky promontory of Starved Rock, overlooking the Illinois River. At this time, September of 1680, Tonti only had five men (two were priests) and no construction had begun at this location.

On September 18, 1680, the Iroquois made their approach on the Illini at their village near Starved Rock, Illinois. Their war party consisted of 500-600 Iroquois and 100 Shawnee warriors. Most if not all of these were armed with flintlock muskets. The "grand Kaskaskia village" at Starved Rock had approximately 500 warriors but only 100 had muskets and the rest bows and arrows. Another 500 warriors from the village were away on a hunt.

Henri de Tonti attempted to negotiate, but it was reported that he was stabbed and nearly killed. Another source says Tonti was able to suspend hostilities for one day. All the Illini warriors could do was to cover the retreat so their women and children could flee down the Illinois river, eventually making it to near its mouth on the Mississippi (just above present day St. Louis, Mo.) After slaughtering many Illini warriors, the Iroquois burned the village, the crops of corn and even desecrated the burial grounds. Then the Iroquois pursued the Illini to the mouth of the Illinois river where the non-combatants had fled.

Here tribes of the Illini congregated for mutual defense. The Iroquois cleverly waited for the Illini tribes to disperse. It is reported that the Peoria tribe crossed over into Missouri. The Kaskaskia and Cahokia went up the Mississippi. The Moingwena went downstream on the Mississippi. But the Tamaroa stayed in the area. It was on the Tamaroa that the Iroquois attacked without mercy. 700 women and children were captured. About 350 of these were slow roasted at the stake, while another 350 were taken as slaves. In all, approximately 1,200 Illini were killed or taken captive. The Iroquois casualties were very light perhaps as few as 30 warriors killed but no reliable estimate is known.
At the abandoned Ft. Crevecoeur, the French found burnt heads and bodies of Illini stuck on skewers (The remains of captives roasted alive by the Iroquois.)

Months later in Feb. 1681, a war party of 100 Kaskaskia warriors attempted to intercept these Iroquois on their return back home. This was in the Wabash valley, of Ohio. They made several valiant attacks, the Iroquois sustaining heavy causalities, but each time they were beaten off.


The French were determined to build a strong alliance of tribes to counter the attacks by the Iroquois. In Dec., 1682 they began building a fort at the summit of Starved Rock (near the former location of the "Grand Kaskaskia village" that was destroyed in 1681).

They named this fort, Fort St. Louis des Illinois [not to be confused with the village of St. Louis on the Mississippi, founded by Pierre Laclede in 1764 OR a later fort (Ft. St. Louis, II) constructed at Peoria in 1691. LaSalle was even successful in getting 200 lodges of Shawnee to not only make peace with the Illini, but to reside at the environs of Ft. St. Louis.

The closely related Miami tribe accepted the invitation as well. The new "La Salle Confederacy" consisted of 3,880 warriors (about 20,000 people altogether counting men, women, and children). The break out of warriors of the various groups were: 1,200 Illini; 200 Shawnee; 1,300 Miami (on the Vermilion River) ; 500 Wea (a subtribe of the Miami); 150 Piankaswaw (another subtribe of Miami); and 530 warriors of the Pepikokia, Kilatica, and Ouabona tribes (probably subtribes of the Miami).

The success of forming this new Confederacy of tribes not only goes to LaSalle but also to Henri de Tonti who personally traveled to each of these groups and convinced each of them the common need for protection.

On March 30, 1684, the Iroquois attacked Ft. St. Louis des Illinois after completely surrounding it. The siege lasted for a week but the Iroquois were unable to penetrate its defenses.

April 27, 1687, Tonti leads a combined Illini, Shawnee, French forces (Tonti’s western contingent consisted of 423 Indian warriors, and 376 French) journey to Niagara Falls to take part in a grand 2,132 man French attack on the Iroquois. The campaign which burned two Seneca villages had mixed results. Tonti forces fought exceptionally well and lost only eight men.

From 1685 to 1689 the "La Salle Confederacy" gradually disintegrates as the tribes move away from Starved Rock.


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Originally posted 2014-02-12 09:45:01. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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